Thursday, 1 April 2004

BTW, what's the "H" in Jesus H Christ stand for?

At Slate, Katie Roiphe on The Maiden Name Debate.
Which got us wondering about bureaucracy in this country. About a week ago, we had occasion to file a report in our local police station, and had long (and in the end, fruitless) debate with the constable who wrote out our complaint in Marathi (a rant for another time: we were not allowed to write it ourselves in the only language we can write competently in) about the difference between one's father's name and middle name. Tried to explain that, being born Christian, we have a middle name, and that's how we feature in any legal paperwork, but the man was having nothing of it. And that got us thinking about women in this country who have to fill in forms that only accept their existence as a adjunct to a man with the compulsory "Father's/Husband's name." Tell, me, does this piss you off? And does this happen only in Maharashtra? What about the North-Eastern states with matrilineal systems?

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